This month’s Woman of The Month may just look familiar to some of you and that’s because she has been featured in Maxim magazine 5 times, as well as appearing in FHM and doing TV shows such as ‘Fear Factor’, ‘The Millionaire Matchmaker’, ’24 Hour Restaurant Battle’ and many others.
On top of this she has managed to find the time to compete in four figure shows and maintain a high position in the Weight Watchers organization.
Totally deserving the title Kick Ass Woman, I am sure you will agree!
But there is even more to Dana as she revealed to me in this recent interview. Read on and be even more inspired!
First of all can you tell us a little about your background?
“I am Italian and I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by my father and grandmother.”
I recall reading that you were in a pretty severe road accident; can you tell us a little about that?
“Sure, I was on my way to college in Staten Island. I was driving on the Verrazano Bridge when I was side-swiped by a sleeping trucker in an 18 wheeler. My car spun out of control as I tried to get away from him and I was hit again by another 18 wheeler head on. I did not have my seatbelt on, because of that I was sent into the passenger side of my car on the floor and escaped this accident with only 25 stitches to the left rear delt. I don’t remember much after the second truck hit. Thankfully some woman stayed and called 911. Oddly enough I never knew who she was. The trucks both were hit and runs. I was in physical therapy for almost 2 years after the accident. It was a tumultuous two years, but it was also the start of a stronger and more spiritual me. I knew I was put on this earth for a reason and I was going to try and make every day count.”
Would you say that the recovery process from that was what prompted you to start working out seriously?
“During physical therapy I started working with resistance bands and other exercise equipment. It was funny because after a while I started to see little muscles. I loved it! After I was fully recovered I hired a personal trainer and this is where my journey began. I was 20 years old. My personality leads me towards perfectionism. I love to learn and when I am interested in something, I want to know everything about it. I grew to love bodybuilding. So yes, I guess you could say the accident prompted me to take weight-lifting more seriously.”
You made your way pretty quickly after that onto the pages of FHM and Maxim, how did that all come about?
I waitressed and bartended to put myself through Pre-Law at St. John’s University. While working, a friend, who is now a well-renowned photographer, always took pictures of us after our shifts. He was convinced I needed to start modeling and told me my photographs were amazing. One day we did a test shoot and behind my back he sent my pictures to FHM. A week later I got a phone call that I was to be featured in the next month’s centerfold. I couldn’t even believe it! After that appearance I started to get a lot of phone calls for different job offers in the modeling industry. Maxim was one of them… I was featured in Maxim 5 times after my first appearance. It kind of all flowed with the natural order of the way things were meant to be.”
You have also done quite a few TV shows, which would you say was your favorite experience to date?
“Yes, I have. My favorite by far was Fear Factor. I love to challenge myself. I met a lot of great people on the show and I really enjoyed the experience.”
Turning our attention elsewhere, I believe you play a very active role in the Weight Watchers organization. How did you get involved with that?
“I have been working in very large law firms for over 10 years now. One day while in talks with an entertainment agent, he mentioned that he had a job opening in a company that he thought I would be a perfect fit for. It ended up being Weightwatchers! I work for the General Counsel and Legal team of the Company and I love the idea of being able to work for a cause that I believe in.”
What do you find is the biggest obstacle people have to overcome within themselves when it comes to losing weight?
“I find that we are all our own worst enemy. Including myself. You have to want to do something and believe with all your heart that you can. If you don’t believe in yourself no one will. This has always been my most important lesson. If you believe you can achieve.”
How do you feel an organization like Weight Watchers really assists people to not only lose weight but to maintain that weight loss?
“I think it is an amazing company. It is also important that the Company really gives people the ability to lose weight while eating the things that they enjoy. Not everyone can be on a pre-contest diet. It allows people to go out and socialize while being able to enjoy the same foods as everyone else. It gives you the tools to lose weight even while leading a normal life.”
With so many things going on in your life where would you say your focus is going to be in the next couple of years?
“I competed for 2 years straight. I recently started a new job. I am going to try and sit back and take life as it comes. I would love to meet someone and start a family. If I am lucky enough to have that happen, that would be my focus in the next couple/few years. Of course I will still train hard and live an active lifestyle as well.”
Having accomplished so much at this point in your life are there any words of advice/encouragement you would like to pass on to anyone reading this who wants to make a life change but just does not know where to begin?
“Well, I didn’t know anything about training or dieting. I literally picked up every book or magazine I could find that would help me learn more about different exercises and tricks to help build muscle. You have to self-educate. You cannot always rely on a trainer telling you what to do or what to eat. It then becomes too easy to not have it be a lifestyle and more of a habit that can easily change. Everything you do should be a part of you, it should be something you are knowledgeable about and that you have a passion and love for. When you love what you do, success comes easy. Believe in yourself!”
Finally, how can people contact you?
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